Volume 47, Issue 12 - December 2012
Coated Glass Products
are Not All the Same
The best news for the glass industry today is the amount of new products available for decorating glass. Decorative glass ranges from spandrel to backsplashes, all of which can include vibrant colors and effects. Along with the boon, however, the industry has seen a rash of failures due to products that just simply were used where they shouldn’t have been. The solution is simple, and something every architect, designer and fabricator should demand: ask for benchmark results and ask if the coating manufacturer offers a robust technical service program.
The important concept for those specifying products and those using coatings for glass is understanding the various needs of different glass applications. For example, a spandrel cavity can have many other products in contact with or close proximity to a coating on glass. From various solvents to changes in pH and even the presence of water from the weep system, all will conspire to cause damage to a coating or even the glass. Similar issues can be found in a backsplash where you have a confined space and the possibility of solvent entrapment from adhesives as well as the potential infiltration of water. The key is that not all applications are the same and various institutions, such as GANA and ASTM (with the help of industry leaders), have created tests to show the minimum performance criteria coatings must pass to be as close to problem-free as possible.
More than Just Products
With the increase of exciting products for the glass industry, so, too, comes the concern of failure and other such issues. Marketing speak can say one thing, but whether a product really performs is the true question. Unless the product manufacturer can show that its products have been tested and meet specific glass standards, you take all responsibility to ensure suitability and performance. Ask the manufacturer for performance testing that shows a product is meant for use in your application or your fabrication line. And, if you want to be more involved with how these benchmarks are created, getting involved with groups such as GANA or ASTM is a great start.
Kris Vockler is the CEO of ICD High Performance Coatings
in Vancouver, Wash.